History of MMA in United States: Louisiana

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This is the 18th of a 50 part series documenting the history and the current state of MMA for each of the 50 states in the United States of America. CLICK HERE to see the full series to date. Each part will chronicle the history of MMA as well as several notable fighters and camps in each state. This is the history of Louisiana MMA. Be sure to check out the previous part on Kentucky.

History of Louisiana MMA

Louisiana, the 18th state of the Union, has arguably one of the richest histories of MMA in the country. The state has been a part of MMA since nearly day one, being an early safe haven state for the UFC in the dark ages. Louisiana has contributed many top level fighters that are still contributing to the sport today.

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Louisiana Boxing and Wrestling Commission

The Louisiana Boxing and Wrestling Commission sanction all MMA bouts within the state. The rules and regulations, however, refer to MMA as “mixed technique” bouts. There is also a waiver on their website that fighters with breast implants must fill out in order to fight within the state. The surgeon and physician must sign off that the competitor is able to fight. The state consists of a five-member board similar to most other states. It is of interest that Louisiana is one of few states that still have a commission for professional wrestling. The commission came into the spotlight recently when Wrestlemania 34 came to New Orleans. The commission has banned blood as well as the pile-driver, power bomb, and moonsault moves.

Major Organizations Visiting The Pelican State

Louisiana hosted many events for the UFC and Bellator in their early stages. UFC has made a presence eight times along with Bellator’s 10 visits. Legacy Fighting Alliance has also made four appearances in the state.

UFC Visits Louisiana

The event UFC 16: Battle in the Bayou, which took place in New Orleans on March 13, 1998, was the first major MMA event in the state. The event hosted the first ever UFC lightweight (under 170lbs) which was won by Pat Miletich. The main event consisted of a light heavyweight title matchup with Frank Shamrock defending his title in 22 seconds against Igor Zinoviev.

The UFC’s most recent venture to Louisiana came in June 2015 for the UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs. Henderson card. Home state fighters Dustin Poirier and Shawn Jordan both won their respective fights by knockout. Each fighter took home Performance of the Night honors. Jordan won with an impressive hook kick against Derrick Lewis. The main event saw legend Dan Henderson knock out Tim Boetsch in the first round. Though there was Louisiana talent on the card, Henderson received the biggest ovation of the night from the crowd knowing they were witnessing a legend of the sport.

Bellator Comes to Louisiana

Bellator would make their debut about 11 years after the UFC in Monroe for Bellator 9. The event was broadcasted on ESPN Deportes and featured Hector Lombard and Jared Hess winning their middleweight semi-final bouts. Shawn Jordan appeared on the card as well winning by first round submission.

Bellator 70 would be the company’s last visit to Louisiana. The New Orleans card took place on May 25, 2012. Louisiana pioneer Rich Clementi won his bout by first round submission. Heavyweight champion Cole Konrad defended his title along with Rick Hawn winning the lightweight tournament.

Fighters and Camps in/From Louisiana

Louisiana talent can be seen from top to bottom on nearly any large organization’s roster. Three of the early MMA trailblazers to represent Louisiana have to be Tim Credeur, Rich Clementi, and Melvin Guillard. Credeur and Clementi both run successful gyms in Louisiana, Credeur at Gladiators Academy in Lafayette while Clementi is at Gladiators Academy in Slidell. Guillard still currently competes in MMA and recently competed at Rizin 11 on Japan on July 29, 2018. All three competed in the UFC earning 20 UFC wins among them.

The Lafayette, LA Effect on MMA and “The King of Lafayette”

Lafayette, LA is an anomaly in the world of MMA. The city of a population of around 120,000 has been the birthplace of four current UFC fighters along with former UFC middleweight Tim Credeur.

Gladiators Academy has been the start to many of Louisiana’s best international and regional talents. Current lightweight top contender, Dustin Poirier often referred to by locals as “The King of Lafayette,” started under the tutelage of Credeur before moving to American Top Team. The Lafayette talent is on the doorstep of a lightweight title shot with 23 wins already in his career. Between fights, Poirier can be seen at many local events such as World Fighting Championships around Louisiana cornering Gladiators fighters. He is leading the second generation of Louisiana MMA full force along with another huge name in the world of MMA. Poirier is coming off of an exciting second-round knockout of Eddie Alvarez at UFC on Fox 30: Alvarez vs. Poirier II.

The “Champ Champ” of Louisiana

The current light heavyweight and heavyweight UFC champion, Daniel “DC” Cormier, is also a Lafayette native. Cormier wrestled at Northside High School, as did Poirier. Cormier would later reject a football scholarship to Louisiana State University in order to follow his true passion of wrestling at Oklahoma State University. So far Cormier’s professional record is 21-1-1. After regaining his light heavyweight title after the UFC 214 debacle, he would go on to defeat the heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, at UFC 226 to become on the second simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history.

Several Other MMA Fighters From Lafayette

The other two current UFC fighters from the city of Lafayette are welterweight Alan Jouban and women’s bantamweight Liz Carmouche. Jouban has won four Fight of the Night honors and can also be seen on the Fox Sports desk for UFC events. The former Marine, Carmouche, was a part of the UFC’s first ever women’s fight. Carmouche faced Ronda Rousey at UFC 157 but lost by armbar in round one. Carmouche is fresh off of a unanimous decision win over Jennifer Maia at UFC Fight Night: Dos Santos vs. Ivanov in July 2018.

Another well-known name to MMA fans in the south Louisiana area from Lafayette is that of JD Domengeaux. Domengeaux has most recently competed under the WFC banner and is currently training at Syndicate MMA. He began at Gladiators Academy under Credeur and eventually moved to American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida.

Domengeaux spoke with MMASucka about the amazing fans of Louisiana. “The MMA fans of Louisiana are a special breed. They truly support their own,” Domengeaux told MMASucka. “Every time I fight in Louisiana I feel the support when I’m competing in the cage and I know the other fighters do as well. It’s a great time to be in our sport and I am thankful that I am able to compete at a high-level coming out of Louisiana.” Domengeaux also spoke of the amazing talents coming out of Louisiana. “Louisiana has always produced good fighters. What we are seeing with Dustin Poirier is something special. I have had the privilege to train with him for over 10 years. He is a future UFC world champion and Hall of Famer. DC is another great athlete that is doing huge things in our sport.”

Other Big Names on the Louisiana Scene

Another of those names widely known to Louisiana fans is Thomas Webb. A top-flight lightweight in the region, Webb, as also trained alongside Poirier and has done a good bit of his training through the Gladiators system. “I remember back in the day watching Kyle Bradley, Tim Credeur, and Rich Clementi. Training and fighting and they were it,” Webb told MMASucka. “There was no one else around here that was doing it, or on that level at least. Now you have Louisiana guys all over the scene. I’ve said it several times and mean it. The Louisiana takeover is in full effect. We will conquer the fight fame on all levels.” Good luck finding a fight fan in Louisiana to disagree.

“There are too many good guys out here. It has been a long, wild ride for myself and I personally can’t wait to see what lays ahead for us.”

LFA’s Main Eventer

One of the fastest rising stars from the state of Louisiana is LFA middleweight, Brendan Allen. Allen has been in the main event or co-main event spot for all of his five LFA fights. He is coming off of a knockout of the year candidate of Larry Crowe at LFA 43 in June 2018. “It has been great to see the progression and I believe Rich Clementi and Tim Credeur, as well as my man Dustin Poirier, are the reasons for that,” Allen told MMASucka.

“They are pioneers of this state and are guys that lived here, trained here, and fought out of here many times. They know the struggle that this state brings for fighters that really want this life. Overall it is great to be a part of the sport at a time like this and witness the evolution in not only my state but in the sport itself.”

Part 19 of the 50 states series will be the state of Maine. Check back with MMASucka to keep up with the series.

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Matt's love and passion for martial arts began at the age of four with Taekwondo. Matt later trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu while serving nearly ten years in law enforcement. Matt has just recently discovered his passion of writing on mixed martial arts.

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